Twins hang around with defensive gems

Mauer leaps, turns double play; Buxton shows off cannon; Dozier foils Indians' Gomes

Twins hang around with defensive gems

MINNEAPOLIS -- Not much went the Twins' way in a 5-2 loss to Cleveland on Friday night as the offense only mustered four hits, but several dazzling plays by the defense helped keep Minnesota within striking distance.

"We did make some nice defensive plays," said Twins manager Paul Molitor. "[Brian Dozier] made some nice plays. [Joe Mauer] made a really nice play on a soft liner to double off and get us out of that inning. [Miguel Sano] handled a shot with the infield in and cut down a run. There were some plays that were made for sure."

Center fielder Byron Buxton got the highlight reel rolling in the second, when Mike Napoli hit a deep fly ball off the left-center-field wall for the Indians' first hit. Buxton raced to the gap and unleashed a 214-foot throw at 90 mph, as measured by Statcast™, to cut down Napoli at second base.

Buxton nabs Napoli

"He saved me on that one," said Twins starter Ervin Santana. "He's very good out there."

Indians catcher Yan Gomes was robbed by two of the other defensive gems. In the fourth, he hit a soft liner into the second-base gap that Mauer speared on a lunging dive to his right and turned into an unassisted double play.

In the eighth, he hit another sharp ball to second with a runner on that Dozier stopped on a dive to his left before throwing to first for the out.

Dozier's nice diving stop

Gomes also hit a hard grounder to third against a drawn-in infield in the sixth, but Sano made a nice stop and threw home for a fielder's choice.

Sano gets Ramirez at home

Despite the plethora of highlight-reel plays, there were some mistakes that plagued the Twins' defense, which leads the American League with 63 errors.

Minnesota yielded an unearned run in the fourth following two defensive miscues. Sano made a nice running pickup of a soft Napoli grounder, but his throw to first sailed wide and put runners on second and third with no outs. Following a Jose Ramirez RBI single, Mauer couldn't handle a one-hop throw on a double-play attempt, bringing another run home.

"Not making the play affects anybody a little bit, but you hope [Santana] responds and finds a way to get you off the field," Molitor said. "But they capitalized with the extra out they had that particular inning."

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for based in Minneapolis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.